Oklahoma Football: Brent Venables debuts 3-3-3 Defense OU version

Forward of the 2019 season, Clemson’s protection coordinator, Brent Venables, traveled to Ames, Iowa, to check Iowa’s 3-3-3 protection. The scheme was devised by Hurricane Protection Coordinator John Hickok as an antidote to the widespread, high-powered crime that dominates the Massive 12, and packages throughout the nation have been gaining success for ISU. Venables is among the many defensive tacticians who’ve met Hickok on a 3-3-3 crash course lately.

Venables didn’t undertake Hickok’s protection as a major alignment, however has been recognized to publish it when the scenario requires it. Now the pinnacle coach in Oklahoma, a type of conditions arose final week when the Sooners visited the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Dodge the record-breaking four-way Venables, the Sooners lined up at 3-3-3 virtually solely in a 49-14 win. NU’s offense was imagined to be the one a part of the group nonetheless working as this system continued to capsize, however the Huskers failed miserably to string the drives collectively for your complete recreation.

So what did the OU’s 3-3-3 appear to be in execution versus the Huskers, and when may the Venables and defensive coordinator Ted Roof use it once more sooner or later?


3-3-3 will get its identify from the truth that it typically begins with a stack of three linemen and three linebackers and there are excessive security spots in the midst of the sector. They’re joined by two pillars, after all.

The above picture from the primary quarter gives an instance of how vacationers line up. On the defensive position, nostril sort out Jeffrey Johnson has defensive finish Reggie Grimes and Ethan Downs on both aspect. Inside LBs David Ugwoegbu and Danny Stutsman play about three yards from the ball within the gaps between the NT gamers and prime gamers. About 5 yards deep from the road of scrimmage, the third LB, DaShaun White, traces as much as the sector aspect of the offensive formation within the alley between the slender finish of NU and the broadly divided indoor receiver. As well as, the OU showcases three excessive safety factors for Cornhuskers: Billy Bowman performs in the midst of the sector, and Justin Broiles and Damond Harmon construct store round hashtags on opposing sides.


However why use a 3-3-3 towards Nebraska and never a group like Kent State?

It is doable that Venables determined to make a large overhaul of the ISU’s protection as a blueprint for the OU going ahead. That does not sound like his fashion, particularly in the midst of the season. At Clemson, use 3-3-3 as a change, and we will assume that is the plan now.

One other risk was that Venables felt assured that the OU may deal with a NU floor recreation utilizing three-man fronts and light-weight working chests. This frees up a spot within the squad for a further defensive again rather than a fourth line participant.

One other issue price contemplating: offensive tendencies. Nebraska’s offensive coordinator Mark Whipple seems to be keen on journeys and formations with three receivers to 1 aspect of the sector. for instance:

Such a formation often forces the protection to handle the imbalance in passing energy in one among two methods. First, it could impose a mismatch between the receiver and what’s often a weaker passing defender. An inside LB may be referred to as for the man towards the WR slot, for instance. Additionally, if the protection has to overburden one aspect of the sector by shifting cowl gamers to defend a three-receiver look, it could be uncovered on the opposite aspect.

The three-3-3 group helps relieve a few of this stress. Within the picture above, NU locations three broadly divided receivers to the sector aspect of the configuration. OU matches three gamers with protection – cornerback, security and SAM LB – broad. In the meantime, the Sooners nonetheless have cowl help obtainable from the Center and Border Reservoirs, who’re imagined to have set off switches to establish them as properly.


A sensible wager for tilting the OU on Saturday with Kansas State is that the 3-3-3 D shall be again on the shelf. The Wildcats play tough soccer, and so they love 12 people (one working again and two tight ends). This means that the Sooners will want a fourth DL to assist with the trenches greater than the extra DB will cowl.

However do not be shocked to see a 3-3-3 comeback once more in some unspecified time in the future within the following weeks towards TCU and Texas.